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Column: The best spots to grab a cup of coffee within walking distance of campus

A barista prepares a drink at Stone and Leaf Cafe on June 10.

The average college student is no stranger to late nights and all-nighters. Credit hours convert to countless hours spent reading, writing and studying, leaving weary eyes and heads resting on hands. So, how do we all get through it, you ask? One word: coffee. Don’t drink coffee, you say? Don’t worry — you will, and I’ve got you covered.

Here are seven places on or near campus to grab that much-needed cup of joe.

The Meantime Coffee Co.

Located in the Campus Y, The Meantime is right in the heart of campus. As the only student-run, nonprofit coffee shop on campus, The Meantime is run by Tar Heels for Tar Heels, and proceeds go to student scholarships and grants. The Meantime is an ideal place to drop a few dollars on coffee, because your spending is helping out your peers.

Stone & Leaf Cafe 

You’ll soon come to learn this is just a fancy name for an on-campus Starbucks located on the second floor of the Student Stores. But it’s super convenient and affordable — you can even use your meal plan flex dollars to pick up a drink or bakery item of your choosing. I recommend an iced caramel macchiato with almond milk or a vanilla bean Frappuccino for those hot days in early fall or late spring.

Carolina Coffee Shop

The Carolina Coffee Shop is the oldest continually running restaurant in North Carolina. Located at 138 E. Franklin St., it’s arguably one of the best breakfast or brunch places in Chapel Hill. It also serves exceptional coffee. So, bring your friends for some caffeine and cuisine and choose an indoor or outdoor experience. Not to mention, it’s a great place to take your parents when they come to visit (come on, you know they will). I recommend the feta, tomato, spinach and onion omelet paired with a vanilla iced coffee. 

Perennial Cafe 

Perennial gives you delicious coffee with a fun atmosphere. Located at 401 W. Franklin St., it's a bit of a hike for those on South Campus, but it’s totally worth it. Grab your books, get a brew and climb up the stairs for a peaceful and quiet study experience. Need a break? Take your friends and sip as you socialize. It’s also a great place to chat and meet new people.

Cha House

Cha House, located at 318 W. Franklin St., is an Asian-inspired tea house that also serves specialty coffee. Stop in to try a lavender latte or an iced caffe americano. Not a coffee fan? Cha House offers a variety of tea options, including hot or cold milk, brewed or fruit teas, and you can add toppings like boba. If you’re hungry, try the Taiwanese popcorn chicken or green onion pancake. And a bowl of shaved ice — with toppings like mango puree and condensed milk — is a particularly good choice on a hot day.

Friends Cafe

Friends Cafe is another on-campus option if you want to get outside the comforts of a Starbucks atmosphere. Located within the UNC Health Sciences Library, it’s a great spot to grab a warm or cold cup to help power you through your studies. As the name implies, it’s also a perfect spot to gather with friends between classes. I recommend ordering a hot coffee with sugar and almond milk as a companion for your journey back from North Campus.  

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews 

If you’re still reading, I saved the best for last. Located on 109 E. Franklin St., Epilogue has it all — including coffee, chocolate and books. So if you happen to be a coffee lover, chocolate fanatic or bookworm like me, this is the place for you. Though it serves as a great study spot, it’s also an excellent place to enjoy some caffeine alongside an adventure in the form of a new book. 

College is full of secrets, but your eventual need for a pick-me-up isn’t one of them. Each of these spots is either on or within walking distance from campus, so don’t fret if you don’t have a car or a ride. But don’t just take my word for it. Wander around a bit and I’m sure you’ll find even more great places to satisfy your fix — I just ask you to let me in on the secret.

@DTHCityState |

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